Farmers brace for huge crop loss

despair-of-farmersFlood In 19 Districts
Transplanted Aman (T-Aman) paddy and other seasonal crops of over 150 thousands hectares of land in 19 districts are about to be damaged as these remain submerged by floodwaters for around two weeks now.

If the crops are damaged, it would be a huge economic setback for thousands of farmers in those districts.

Apart from T-Aman, seedbeds of Aman would also be destroyed if those remain under water for around 10 days, according to officials of Department of Agricultural Extensions (DAE).
However, the DAE officials say, even if the damage has been done, it would not affect fulfilling of the crop-production target for the year 2014-15 as the floods hit the 19 districts in the beginning of the Aman season.

If the submerged saplings are damaged, affected farmers would be able to re-cultivate Aman or other rice or vegetables seeds once the floodwaters are gone, said the DAE officials.

“Saplings of some Aman varieties can survive even if it remains under water for eight to 10 days. Hopefully a significant portion of inundated crop lands would not be ruined,” said Md. Abbas Ali, director general of DAE. The DAE is going to start its field survey today to get the “actual picture” of the damaged crops in the ongoing floods, the DG told The Daily Star yesterday.

It is possible to plant Aman saplings till the end of September and the affected farmers would have time for re-cultivation.

For this season, the DAE had set a target of cultivating T-Aman in a total 52.5 lakh hectares of land in the country.

“But so far, we have brought 47 lakh hectares of land under cultivation,” Abbas said.

A significant portion of the croplands have been washed away by the Jamuna, Teesta, Ghagot, Padma, Meghna, Arial khan, Old Brahmaputra and Feni rivers while another large portion of the croplands is still reeling under the floodwaters.

Most of these crop fields are in Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Jamalpur, Bogra, Rangpur, Gaibandha, Nilphamari, Munshiganj, Feni, Noakhali, Shariatpur, Madaripur, Sirajganj, Sylhet and Sunamganj districts, report our correspondents, quoting local agricultural officials.

If the huge amount of T-Aman in the vast lands of northern districts is damaged, it would be an “extra burden” on the farmers, fighting against the natural calamity for over last two weeks.

In last few months, the farmers had to spend extra money for irrigation as there had been a drought like situation, reports our Rangpur correspondent.

A total of 45,772 hectares of croplands in five out of eight districts of the Rangpur Divisions have been damaged in the recent floods. Rangpur has been the worst affected region this year.

Agriculture experts said if the flood situation does not improve in a day or two, the production of T-Aman would be 10 percent below the target set for the current season, said Kamal Kumar Sarker, additional director of the DAE for Rangpur Region.

Many of the affected farmers said there would be a “negative” impact on the Aman production if they are not provided with the necessary assistance by the government.

Asked whether the government would take any measure to compensate the affected farmers, the DAE director general said the government would help by providing them with seeds and saplings of various crops, if needed.

“The DAE and other government agencies are preparing seed beds. But we would take the final decision after determining the total damages,” said the DAE DG.

Apart from Aman cultivation, fish farming in flood-hit 19 districts have also been severely affected.

Only in Jamalpur, 2215 ponds out of total 22095 have been washed away by floodwaters, incurring an estimated loss of Tk 4.76 crore, said the district fisheries department.

“Hundreds of farmers engaged in fish farming are facing a great economic loss due to this flood as fishes and fries float away,” said Md. Abu Hanifa, assistant director, fisheries department of Jamalpur.


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